new FCA plant

Rendering (credit: City of Detroit)

Land Deals, Incentives, Jobs Plan For New Detroit Fiat Chrysler Plant Approved

May 21, 2019 - 3:12 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - Fiat Chrysler can move forward with plans to build the first new auto assembly plant in Detroit in nearly 30 years. 

The Detroit City Council on Tuesday voted to approve a set of deals expected to bring around 5,000 new automotive jobs to Detroit; most of them on the assembly line.

Fiat Chrysler will building a new $1.6 million assembly plant at the site of the shuttered Mack Avenue plant on Detroit's east side, while also investing $900 million to retool and expand the Jefferson North plant.

"One of the largest auto production centers in America...is going to be on the east side of Detroit," Mayor Mike Duggan. "It's going to be transformative."

Detroit will be on the hook for about $50 million after council members Ok'd about a dozen resolutions involving complicated land swaps, and the sale of the city's Millennium parking garage.

Some on the council expressed concern that the city is giving up too much, including Andre Spivey, who still voted yes. 

"It's not the best deal in my opinion, as I've said before, it's the best deal we have right now," Concilman Spivey said. "We have 5,000 at our doorstep, they're here, and we have to make sure that every Detroiter who wants to work is prepared to do that." 

Detroit Economic Growth Corp's Thomas Lewand said he'd feared that if council members could not agree, FCA would move the plant to another state."We could not keep these jobs and get this deal done if we did not keep it as it is structured now," he said.

The deal include a four-week exclusive window in which city residents will be able apply for jobs at the facilities, once UAW obligations are met, giving Detroiters first dibs on what Mayor Duggan says will be "good-paying" jobs. 

"We will be reaching out to Detroiters," he said, speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950 on Monday. "Because, if you have a high school degree or a GED, you're physically able to do the job, and you conduct yourself appropriately in an interview, you can be qualified for a job that starts out at $18 an hour plus benefits, and ultimately goes up to $56,000 a year."

Councilwoman Janeé Ayers noted that this new plant will affect more than the auto industry in Detroit. "It's the coney island that's nearby, it's the cleaners nearby; everybody has an opportunity to eat off of this," she said. 

Also Tuesday, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved millions of dollars worth of incentives for the new plant and expansion, including $99 million in taxes over the next ten years, along with another $31 million in exemptions and grants.  The automaker will also receive $62 million in incentives for investments in the at Warren Truck Assembly,  Warren Stamping and Sterling Stamping plants. 

City officials say Fiat Chrysler will start hiring fairs for the jobs in about a month.